THERE’S WORK IN THE SUN
Nobody speaks more eloquently, convincingly or passionately about New Energy’s potential to transform the U.S. economy than former President Bill Clinton: "[To green a building] somebody's got to be standing on that roof." Clinton regularly points out that the buildings most in need of retrofitting are in the inner cities, where the greatest need is for manual-skills jobs. A recent study found that most such work pays decent wages, has benefits and is open to trainees.
Ian Kim, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights: "As the green economy takes off, we have the opportunity from the beginning to lock in the people who have tended to be locked out of the workforce…"
Skeptics await concrete numbers. Marcellus Andrews, economist, Columbia University: "The people who talk about green-collar jobs as the solution to low-skilled unemployment overestimate the number of jobs and underestimate the supply of labor…"
Andrews, however, is reportedly only dubious because he thinks a lot of the new jobs might go to immigrants. Now that’s a good one: Turning an economic opportunity into a fight about immigration. That’s why they say a one-handed economist is helpless: On the one hand there probably aren’t enough jobs but on the other hand, if there are, they’ll go to the "wrong" Americans.
For more information, check out Green Collar Jobs: Why Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency are Economic Powerhouses
New Energy and Energy Efficiency already contribute in a big way to the U.S. economy - which is why it is a sin and an abomination that Congress has not yet extended the production tax credits (PTCs) and investment tax credits (ITCs) that have driven growth over the last 3 years. Because New Energy projects require long lead times, if the PTCs and ITCs aren't extended by this spring, a year of expansion may be lost. (click to enlarge)
Engine Of Growth: Clean Tech Jobs; Clean energy work is a rapidly growing industry, but critics say it’s no panacea for unemployment
Ben Arnoldy, January 24, 2008 (Christian Science Monitor)
Advocates and skeptics of developing jobs programs in the New Energy sector.
From an American Solar Energy Society presentation: A hint of the potential. (click to enlarge)
- The Monitor takes a closer look at the “green collar jobs” touted by Democratic political leaders.
- 2006: Germany created 235,600 clean energy jobs.
- 2007: Congress authorized $125 million for green collar job training.
- New Energy is now a $55-billion-a-year industry worldwide.
- California presently has a shortage of solar panel installers and New Energy power project workers.
From an American Solar Energy Society presentation. (click to enlarge)
- There is now a shortage of workers to fill New Energy jobs in emerging hubs like the San Francisco, CA, “Bay Area.”
- Advocates say the dwindling U.S. industrial base can be transformed into a “clean-tech” base.
- 22 sectors of the economy involve green-collar jobs. (Ex: biodiesel vehicle repair, nontoxic printing, home weatherizing, sustainable landscaping)
- Presidential candidate/former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC): Would train/employ 150,000+ workers/year for green-energy jobs.
- Presidential candidate/Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL): Would use part of $150 billion generated over 10 years by his proposed cap-and-trade system to pay for green job-training.
- Presidential candidate/Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY): Would make $5 billion in clean-technology investments as part of her economic stimulus plan. (There is currently legislation in the Senate S.A. 1515 co-sponsored by Senator Clinton.)
- Presidential candidate/Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): Recognizes a need for green technology job training.
Not just New Energy is at stake. From the Ella Baker Center. (click to enlarge)
- Angela Greene, solar panel installer, Richmond, CA: "I saw I would be able to make a stable income for myself…and at the same time be able to help my community and the environment."
- Joel Makower, executive editor, greenbiz.com: "Nearly every city is vying to become a hub of clean technology or green-collar jobs. Every community college that has any budget to develop a new program is looking at a lot of these new technologies…"